Finding Privacy in an Open Layout

WRITTEN BY rightsize


Design tips that can boost happiness and productivity in the workplace

The open office layout is an unavoidable reality of office space today. But privacy is one of the key elements of happiness in the workplace. Which leaves office managers in a potentially difficult position about how to add privacy to a space that has already been designed with few walls. But there are solutions available.

“If we’re talking a big open box and someone wants to outfit the space to be more private, we would use panels, demountable walls, and other cost-effective elements to break up the open plan look,” says Rightsize Senior Account Manager Shannon Filo.

And the good news is that as more businesses look for options to break up open layouts, designers are providing options that are fun and edgy, that don’t detract from the clean look an open plan provides.

Here are some great options that make creating privacy a snap.

Adding Panels to Existing Workstations

Workstations are the signature furniture piece of the open office layout. But adding height to some elements can add more privacy, and also reduce noise. “Because workstations are low, by adding 8-12 inches of either glass that can be frosted or fabric panels, you can create a more secluded feel for the employees,” says Filo.
Pic 2 of Jul 29
Incorporating Screens into Open Areas

“If you’re furnishing an open lounge area, you can get really cool screens that can be custom made,” says Filo. The screens can be customized to include company colors, etched wording and area available in a lot of different finishes to either match the workstations or to be more of a statement piece within the space.
Pic 3 of Jul 29
Stylized Vertical Elements

“You can dangle chains or any kind of product that has a vertical element to it to separate a room,” says Filo. These can look beyond amazing, are relatively easy to create, and can add a fun design component to the space, while also providing privacy.
Pic 4 of Jul 29
Demountable Walls

“You can use demountable walls to create private areas very easily, and they are reconfigurable so you can change them in the future,” says Filo. Provided by companies like NxtWall, these pre-fabricated walls are measured to fit your office space, and can be reconfigured to meet evolving space needs. Available in a wide variety of finishes and totally customizable, demountable walls are a great, and flexible, way to add privacy to an open office design.
Pic 5 of Jul 29
Privacy Seating

Using the furniture itself as a way to create privacy is a new trend in office design. “Some furniture vendors are providing options where the chairs fully enclose, so it’s sound resilient, but gives you privacy when you’re just sitting there.” These futuristic looking options incorporate sound masking elements with collaborative features to maximize functionality.
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About Rightsize

Rightsize Facility Performance, headquartered in Chicago, IL, is a nationwide office interiors and facilities services firm serving corporate clients in transition. Founded in 2004, Rightsize employs an industry leading “Design/Furnish” approach to ensure seamless workplace transitions and is a single source for interior design, furniture procurement, delivery and installation, asset disposition, facility decommissioning and ancillary project services.  Through its Office Furniture Center brand, which includes and a 200,000-square-foot showroom, Rightsize also provides a single source for quality workstations, desks, seating, filing, conference and reception furniture. For more information please visit

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